X Factor SA: Then there were nine

2014-10-19 15:00

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Wandaboy Ngubeni used to rely on mandrax and heroin to get through his days?–?now he gets high on music.

Ngubeni (31) was unveiled last night as one of the nine acts still standing on the X Factor SA music reality show.

He’s up against, among others, a young gay man responding to his bullies with his vocal talents and two young “spiritualists” who call the stage a “holy” space.

Ngubeni, from Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal, says he’s been drug-free for the past six years. He started using “all kinds of drugs” in 2003. In 2007 he was shattered when his three siblings and his mother died in quick succession. After their deaths, he quit drugs and got to work as a vocal coach.

Also in the top nine is bubbly 18-year-old Mattheus Johannes Scholtz, or MJ. He grew up in Krugersdorp outside Joburg and was bullied from an early age.

“It became worse in high school because my schoolmates treated me like an inferior because I was gay. I had no choice but to quit school.”

He came out to his family when he was 16 and says they were “very supportive and didn’t judge me”.

“From that day I didn’t care what the next person said about me.”

He giggles when asked about romance. “Yes, I have a boyfriend.”

Best friends Khanyisa Mbuthu (31) and Mbongeni Mavuso (27) from Pietermaritzburg call themselves Iziqhaza, taking the name from a pair of earrings worn years ago to distinguish the amaZulu from other tribes.

Iziqhaza, who count the late Busi Mhlongo among their biggest influences, describe themselves as “spiritualists” who are connected with God and their ancestors.

“A stage is a holy place for us and we always connect ourselves into a song every time we perform. But we are not izangoma,” says Mavuso.

The X Factor’s local judges are club legend Oskido, former Springbok Nude Girls lead singer and solo artist Arno Carstens and singer-songwriter Zonke. They have been putting the would-be stars through their paces from the time of the show’s launch on September 6.

The other finalists are:

.?Avodah (Nonkululeko Cossa, Nondumiso Radebe, Thembisa Ndlovu, Phila Msimang, Siziphiwe Ndlovu and Sindi Ntombela)

.?Wandile “Bubbles” Nomiya

.?Eliezer Hilmer

.?Four (Jethro Tait, David Evan Januari and Steven Lee Lewis)

.?Gavin Edwards

.?Princess Mekoa

The winner, who will be crowned on December 13, walks away with a Sony Music Entertainment contract and R300?000 in cash.

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